Do not interfere in uniform standards of private minority educational institutions: Karnataka government tells HC

Based on a statement by the Karnataka government that it does not interfere with uniform standards in minority private educational institutions, the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday ‘dismissed’ a petition filed by the Management Federation minority educational institutions in the state of Karnataka.

The federation has applied to the High Court for instructions not to interfere with the state government in the rights of minority educational institutions over the management of educational institutions. He argued that a February 5 government decree prescribing restrictions on uniforms cannot be applied to private minority institutions.

The February 5 Karnataka government order that students must meet the uniform standards prescribed by colleges and a February 10 High Court order saying that all religious attire is prohibited in schools and colleges where uniforms are prescribed, have created great confusion among the colleges. in Karnataka over the past fortnight.

On February 16, when colleges reopened, Muslim girls wearing headscarves and hijabs were barred from entering many public and private colleges.

In Bangalore, a Sikh girl studying at a minority private girls’ institution was prevented from wearing a turban due to confusion over the standards for religious wearing in those institutions.

The federation argued in the High Court this week that the “state government cannot interfere with the rights of minority educational institutions” and that the state’s Feb. 5 order ordering students to state-run colleges to meet uniform standards” cannot be applied on minority educational institutions of unaided schools, including the state board program, ICSE, CBSE.

On February 22, Karnataka’s Attorney General Prabhuling Navadgi told the court, “The government does not interfere in any way in minority institutions without help.”

Based on the submission, a full bench of the High Court headed by Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi said: “We are of the view that nothing should be tried in the matter. The motion in brief is therefore dismissed. »

The High Court on Wednesday said in an oral clarification of its February 10 order that restrictions on the wearing of religious symbols like hijabs and saffron shawls would only apply to state colleges where uniforms have been prescribed by colleges.

The clarification came after lawyer Mohammed Tahir told the court that all colleges – even those offering graduate courses where uniforms are not prescribed – impose restrictions on wearing the hijab citing the Order of February 10.

The lawyer said even teachers were banned from wearing the hijab. The High Court bench orally clarified that its February 10 order restricting religious wear in schools and colleges would only apply to students and not teachers.

In its order, the High Court said: “Pending consideration of all such petitions, we prohibit all students, regardless of religion or faith, from wearing saffron (bhagwa) shawls, headscarves, hijabs, religious or other flags in the classroom until further notice.

“We make it clear that this order is limited to establishments where college development committees have prescribed the dress code/uniform for students,” the High Court had said.

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